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No one can deny the impact technology has had on travel. Its importance continues to grow in 2023 and beyond. While there’s no clear picture of what the future holds for the sector, travel and tourism players can see signs of progress. At the same time, travelers are again beginning to dream of escaping to faraway lands, exploring beautiful destinations and finding peace on silent retreats.

As people grow more optimistic about traveling, here are six tech trends that will shape the industry.

Tech-Empowered Travel

Virtual platforms like digital health passports and real-time travel notification hubs will be pivotal in keeping travelers informed and providing guidance on all their travel decisions. This includes timely updates, instant access to information and clear requirements to keep travelers safe and have peace of mind throughout their journey. Furthermore, contactless technologies such as self-check-in and boarding, apps for requesting services and concierge support through chatbots will enhance the travel experience and increase the time spent enjoying a trip.

Personalized Holiday Plans and Experiences

Going on a holiday can be a chore. Creating travel itineraries is a complex task in the new normal. Travelers need to invest additional care into planning besides noting travel requirements and health protocols before they enter a country. Travel companies and tour operators can step up to meet said demand with the help of AI and data analytics. Infusing intelligence into their system allows businesses to uncover travel trends, provide recommendations tailored to traveler needs and create targeted strategies to attract more customers.

Virtual Voyages in the Metaverse

Instead of reading a review on the Internet or receiving recommendations from family and friends, travelers will turn to virtual reality for vacation inspiration. The Metaverse offers something beyond the “try before you buy” model. It will educate, entertain and encourage people to embark on their own adventures. Travelers will also be motivated to visit places they may not have otherwise considered if they had not already experienced them virtually.

Safeguard Confidential Data

Many would have thought that data security is the last thing they need to worry about when traveling. That’s not the case as a new trend is sweeping the travel community. Called workcation, bleisure or bizcation, it allows employees to embark on a personal holiday while retaining a full-time work schedule. Nonetheless, being away from the office comes with safety concerns. To mitigate this risk, leveraging the power of cloud computing may be the solution as it offers advanced security as data stored on the cloud is encrypted and resilient to threats. Organizations can regulate and manage end-users through identification, authentication and authorization to prevent customer data and intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands.

Robo-Hospitality and Chatbot Services

Not quite the personal assistant like R2D2 in Star Wars but close enough. The tourism industry is beginning to introduce face-to-face interactions with AI-powered robots. They welcome customers, recognize speech to relay tourist information and provide room service upon request. For instance, Hilton has a pilot program featuring a robot concierge named Connie. It learns everything about an area to make suggestions and promote upcoming local events to guests. Over in the digital space, AI-infused chatbots are essential to delivering faster response times by answering frequently asked questions, offering seamless customer journey experiences and converting visitors into customers.

Loyalty Evolved

Many loyalty programs are now out of touch with the needs and expectations of today’s travelers. The decrease in travel opportunities means racking up points for rewards isn’t as achievable. An example of overcoming this is through the power of now. Forget about collecting an unfathomable number of points for a one-night stay. Travel companies should offer instantly redeemable room upgrades with lesser points to further enhance the holiday experience. Adopting a comprehensive, intelligent loyalty management system is necessary to prepare for travelers’ needs. In doing so, businesses can constantly reassess customer demands, create flexible redemption campaigns and offer the option to choose benefits without overloading them with unrelatable rewards.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the desire to travel and seek instants of happiness and escapism has never been stronger. Travelers are anticipating the perfect vacation and will not hesitate to plot their next excursion. As such, legacy technology solutions – especially those from the pre-pandemic era – are no longer sufficient to capture these rapidly shifting demands. Businesses must take advantage of the power of cloud computing, data management, analytics, automation and AI to drive engaging, personalized digital experiences. In 2023 and beyond, cutting-edge technologies will be the catalysts that empower travel companies to reinvent their digital strategies and enable travelers to regain their travel bliss in a more connected and rewarding manner.